Review Summary: From Autumn To Ashes...with 30% more grit...
Ever since the recording process of From Autumn To Ashes' 2005 release, Abandon Your Friends, the band has been slowly falling apart. From the departure of lead vocalist Benjamin Perri, to the numerous side projects the other members are involved in, it's a wonder they were able to keep it together long enough to release 2007's Holding A Wolf By The Ears (arguably the bands best release). However, the loss of several band members finally caught up with the band, and sadly, on June 9th of this year, the band felt that they had reached a "natural conclusion", and are now on indefinite hiatus. The band members have since moved on with their side projects, with Brian Denevee and Matthew Breen (vocalist of Emanuel) forming Summer Law, Jeff Gretz returning to Zao, and Francis Mark forming Warship alongside guitarist Rob Lauritsen.
At first (and probably second) glance, Warship's Supply & Depend seems to be little more than a collection of From Autumn To Ashes b-sides, but the songs presented here possess a slightly grittier edge than you would find in most of From Autumn To Ashes' previous releases (save for maybe a few songs off Holding A Wolf...). To put it simply, the record plays out much like a FATA record covered in a thin layer of sludge. The overall sound of the album is still rooted in the same metalcore vein, but the guitars are a lot thicker, Francis' vocals are still more or less the same higher pitched screams and singing as they've always been, though they do come off as a bit strained (which somehow turns out to be a bit of a positive), and the overall production of the album is very raw. The only problem with the "rawness" of the production is that there are a few instances where it either seems forced, or the rather raw production just doesn't really mesh well with the songs themselves. For example, songs like We've Never Been Equal really feel like mainstream metalcore songs that have just been hastily dirtied up to fit with the rest of the album, and while it doesn't bring down the album that much, it does disrupt the flow of the album. However, the raw production does serve to help out a few tracks as well, like the albums more aggressive tracks such as Toil and Fetus Flytrap.
Aside from the few awkwardly produced songs, the main flaw of the album lies in the repetitiveness. While there is nothing wrong with each individual song, a lot of the guitar riffs and song structures are fairly generic, and often feel more or less like recycled FATA ideas (starting to see a pattern here?). However, that's not to say that the album is without its high points. Songs like Wounded Paw and Indoors present a slightly darker and brooding aspect of of the band, while still retaining the driving punk rhythms of the rest of the album, and adding just a pinch of melody, which ends up being what the band really excels at. There are also a few instances where the band seemingly attempts to inject a bit of doom metal and stoner rock into the sound, like the song Where's Your Leash, but those attempts, interesting as they may sound, end up being largely boring and forced. In fact, much of the album ends up being largely boring and forced, and the few standout tracks are so far above the rest that it almost turns into a bad thing, making the album feel extremely unbalanced and awkward to listen to in full.
Though the album has its definite highlights, it would be nice for Warship to be more of its "own band" so to speak, rather than just trying to be FATA 2.0. Judging from the attempts at melding the slight doom and sludge influences into the sound, Warship does have the ability to produce some genuinely interesting and refreshing music, but at this early stage it seems like Francis and Rob are still trying to cling to what they're used to instead of trying to be a little bit more adventurous. Maybe with their next album, Warship will be able to find a better way of combining all of the elements found here, but Supply & Depend largely sounds like a band trying to go in a direction that they just simply are not comfortable with going in yet, and the album is very
hit or miss because of it.
*We've Never Been Equal
(If you really enjoy the first three tracks, either download the two noted with a *, or just get purchase the full album)